In an effort to address the ever-plaguing issue of webcast tedium, Quiksilver has announced that for the upcoming Quik Pro Gold Coast they will be embedding GPS devices in the contest jerseys that will report the speed of each surfer on each wave.
"This is a first for a World Tour event," says Nigel Muscroft, Quiksilver and Roxy Events Manager. "The whole idea is purely to enhance commentary and broadcast, create some further interest, advance the sport of surfing, and find out who really is the fastest surfer."
The surfers will wear a small device that weighs less than 3 ounces, which is sewn into the jersey and sits between the shoulder blades. The data from this device is relayed back to a computer that displays the speed in real time.
"Bede tested it at fat D’Bah and was clocked at 29.2 kph [18 mph] while doing a massive frontside air," says Muscroft. "The speeds at Snapper or Kirra should well exceed 35 kph [21.7 mph]."
It isn't compulsory for the surfers to wear the device, and surfers will get the opportunity to try the units out with blank jerseys before surfing their heats for peace of mind in case they are concerned about the comfort factor, but with $2,500 on the line for both the fastest male and fastest female, it's safe to assume that most competitors will willingly take part.
Will this addition serve its proposed purpose and become a permanent part of the World Tour event stats from here on out? Or will it simply alleviate a few lull-induced awkward silences on the webcasts, and provide a bit of inconsequential data that doesn't necessarily prove much?
What do you think?